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Policing Ethnicity: Lab-in-the-Field Evidence on Discrimination, Cooperation, and Ethnic Balancing i


AUTHORS

Blair et al. (2016)

STUDY OBJECTIVE

Advocates argue that “ethnic balancing” reduces discrimination; opponents counter that it erodes unit cohesion. We test these predictions against each other using surveys and lab-in-the-field experiments implemented with teams of Liberian National Police officers.

TREATMENT

"Ethnic Balancing," with the presence of ethnic outsiders (Mandingos) on police teams.

CONTROL

The absence of ethnic outsiders on police teams.

MAIN RESULTS

1) Teams with Mandingo LNP are much more discriminatory towards Mandingo civilians than those without. Non-Mandingo LNP are more discriminatory when assigned to teams with one Mandingo counterpart. 2) However, teams with 3-4 different tribes were less rather than more discriminatory than homogeneous ones, and non-Mandingos are less rather than more discriminatory when assigned to heterogeneous teams. 3) Teams with Mandingo LNP appear to be no more or less cooperative than those without. On the participant-level non-Mandingo LNP do not appear to be any more or less cooperative when assigned to teams with Mandingo LNP. Consistent with this, teams with 3-4 tribes are not any less cooperative than homogenous ones, and may be even more so cooperative.

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